All self-employed people can claim business expenses, contractors and sole traders included. If you work from home you can claim some household expenses, as well.

Make sure you’re not missing a trick at tax time — find out what counts as an expense.

What counts as an expense?

The more expenses you can claim, the less tax you’ll pay. Business expenses can include:

• vehicle expenses, transport costs and travel for business purposes
• rent paid on business premises — including your home
• depreciation on items like computers and office furniture
• interest on money borrowed for business purposes
• some insurance premiums
• work-related journals and magazines
• membership of professional associations
• home office expenses
• work-related mobile phones and phone bills
• stationery
• work uniforms
• tax agent’s fees.

If you use a vehicle for work, it’s a good idea to use Inland Revenue’s vehicle logbook template — Tool for Business downloads: Vehicle logbook template

How much you can claim

If you use something solely for business, you can usually claim the whole cost of the item. But there are exceptions. You can only claim half of some entertainment expenses, eg client coffees or meals.

If you have an expense that’s partly for business and partly for private use, you can claim the proportion that relates to your business.

So if you have a work van you use half for business and half for your own reasons, you can only claim for 50 per cent of the van’s running costs.

Getting an Accountant to complete your return may end up saving you money – we know all the things you can claim for.